Implementation of the interim deal with Iran, which freezes the country’s nuclear enrichment in exchange for limited sanctions relief, began in January. As a result, we are witnessing a substantial shift in diplomatic relations between Iran and its regional neighbours – some positive, some not. This deal marks a significant step for the international non-proliferation regime, but will it achieve the trust and confidence-building goals intended? As the US and Iran face increasing domestic pushback on the terms of the agreement, questions remain on the interim deal’s impact on relations in the region and abroad, and the effect these relations may have on the prospects of coming to a full comprehensive follow-up agreement between Iran and the P5+1 countries.
2014 is a time for looking backwards and forwards. While the dynamics of the war on terror are still very much in play, the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the re-escalation of violence in Iraq and Libya present an opportune context for sincere reflections on the disastrous consequences of war without borders. Such inquiry needs to look forward too, to the implications of the current administration’s ‘war-lite’ and the unstoppable proliferation of remote control technologies.
If Iran and the P5+1 succeed in negotiating a robust agreement on the nuclear issue, then Iran will be less preoccupied with rebalancing its relationship with antagonistic western powers and its role in the Middle East and the wider region has scope for developing in many new directions. This briefing looks ahead to a post-agreement environment and assesses where Iran might chose to concentrate its resources. A key question is whether it will work to build better links with the US and selected European states or whether it will be more interested in the BRIC and other states, not least Turkey. Its choice will be influenced strongly by domestic politics and the urgent need for a more stable region.
The recent announcement that the so-called Geneva II conference would finally convene on 22 January 2014 is overdue but good news. What are the chances of it bringing peace? With an interim deal signed on Iran’s nuclear programme, Richard Reeve discusses what chance the great powers, Middle Eastern diplomats and the mediators of Geneva have as they turn their attention to ending the war in Syria.
As the long running tensions over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea appear to be coming to a head, the time for thinking through the alternatives to the militarisation of this conflict seems to be well and truly upon us.
Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines on 8 November, and is possibly the most powerful tropical cyclone on record. Beyond the immediate impact of the typhoon, the natural disaster is already proving to be a threat to national security, with reports surfacing of massive looting and military engagement following attacks on government relief convoys. As US and UK naval convoys head to support the situation, Andrew Holland discusses climate change’s impact as a threat multiplier and what plans militaries and governments must make to prevent the insecurity that will come with future disasters of this scale.
Across Latin America, governments are sending their militaries into the streets to act as de facto police forces in the face of disproportionally high crime and violence rates. This trend has been going on for several years, but has accelerated in 2013. With the move to deploy over 40,000 troops for citizen security in Venezuela, President Nicolás Maduro joined a growing list of leaders throughout the region that have relied on their militaries to carry out police duties. In the first of our two-part discussion ‘Countering Militarisation of Public Security in Latin America’, Sarah Kinosian discusses the conditions that are causing the trend to thrive.
Facing a myriad of public security challenges that have provoked some of the highest indices of crime and violence in the world, authorities in Central America have followed a variety of different responses, ranging from repressive and reactive policies to grass roots prevention. Of these approaches, the Nicaraguan National Police’s Proactive Community Policing model stands out due to the results it has achieved. In the second of our two-part discussion, ‘Countering Militarisation of Public Security in Latin America’, Matt Budd explores the lessons that Latin American countries can extract from Nicaragua’s unique approach to public security.
Strikes by unmanned combat air vehicles, or armed drones, have become the tactic of choice in US counterterrorism efforts in Yemen, Somalia and, the topic of current controversy, Pakistan. The lack of transparency, dubious effectiveness, civilian casualties and negative consequences for US national security being highlighted by current debate means that Washington needs to re-evaluate its approach.
The recent walkout by Egyptian negotiators at UN talks have demonstrated that, like a building with rotten foundations, the nuclear non-proliferation regime is far less stable than many believe it to be. Egypt’s actions make clear that anything less than a regime specifically geared towards addressing the reasons why some states seek nuclear weapons is a regime existing on borrowed time.